Thursday 22 May 2014

Cleave using a knife.

Hey now it's the Sun! And it makes me smile.

object of desire+photo+jon mac+devon photographer

This song has been rattling round my head for some time now.
I recently read the lamentations of a chap who had used his knife to batten through a three or four inch piece of branch.
The knife broke !
Personally I would not countenance the use of a knife to split wood.
I would, however, let the sun do some work for us if we ever needed to split timber when we have only a knife to hand.
As most of you know by now, a piece of prized timber, left out in the elements, will, as quick as you can say 'Jack Robinson', split.
So why not use this to your advantage and save the chance of breaking your prized knife?

I was out in the forest yesterday, and came across a pile of recently trimmed Hazel.
I picked out a length and carried it up to my camp spot.
I scouted around and found a thin, seasoned branch from a birch tree.
Not the toughest of wood, but I believed it would get the job done.

bushcraft knife+machris bushcraft knife+spoon whittling

To truncate a piece of wood like this, I become a Beaver.
Working round the branch with ever deepening 'V' cuts.

bushcraft knife+machris bushcraft knife+whittling

Once my chosen piece was shortened,
I fashioned a wedge shape at the end.

carved wooden glut+glut+wedge

After a short time, job done.

wooden glut+wooden wedge+glut

The Hazel.


You can see in these photos that the sun has done a good job and has started the cleave for me.


These splits are just big enough for my newly carved 'Glut' or wedge.


I pop the wedge in the split.

splitting glut+glut+cleave

A few taps with a lump of wood...


And there you have it !

cleaved wood+glut+machris bushcraft knife

My morning was disturbed for a short time whilst a Ladies shoot came through.
I sat with the folk manning the traps, out of the way of the 'Guns'.

clay trap

clay trap

The ladies had a great time.

ladies shoot+clay pigeon

Away to the pub for a well earned pint.

clay pigeon+ladies shoot

The 'Gaffer' at the back with a bucket load of spent cartridges.
Nicely tidied away.

ladies shoot+clay pigeon

Excitement over, I headed back to my camp.
So, back to the problem of cleaving wood without an Axe or breaking ones knife.
If a saw is available, try cutting through the timber to the depth of wood required for the job.
Here I wanted a thin sliver for a spoon.

sawn hazel

Once cut, 
I tap the timber onto a stump or rock, making sure the cut is uppermost.cleaved hazel

The elastic shock through the length of timber is enough to open it like a clam.

cleaved hazel

There. All done, and no tears.

cleaved hazel

Now the timber is in more manageable pieces I can use my knife to shorten them.

bushcraft+bushcraft knife+machris

hazel+bushcraft knife+machris bushcraft knife

All done !

cut hazel+bushcraft knife+machris bushcraft knife

One spoon, or whatever it was you needed the split wood for, on it's way.

spoon blank+bushcraft knife+machris bushcraft knife

I think it needs shortening.
Here we go again.....

spoon blank+machris bushcraft knife

I took some nice seasoned Apple with me and spent the rest of the day cutting blanks.

spoon blank+roselli axe+spoon carving+spoon whittling

Hammock time !

jon mac+bare feet+hammock


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